Request for Intelligence Philosophy Essay Topic Suggestions

by MalcolmOcean 5y13th Mar 20151 min read11 comments

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As part of a philosophy course I'm currently taking called Intelligence in Machines, Humans, and Other Animals, I have to write a <3000w essay on a topic related to intelligence. The description is here, but I've copied the important details below. I figured I might as well solicit suggestions for things to research. Realistically, I am likely to optimize the essay more for passing the course than for rigour though, so if you're expecting a very thorough review of something then you may be disappointed. But I suspect that it will still be at least an interesting jumping-off point.

Essay Topics: pick one from A, B, or C

A. Compare intelligence in machines, humans, and other animals with respect to one of the following topics. Feel free to narrow the topic down to some more specific issue, and to consider specific machines, animals, and human capacities.

You must pick a completely different topic from your first essay - I've kept track. For example, if you wrote on one kind of imagery, you can't write on another kind of imagery.

  1. Perception
  2. Imagery
  3. Problem solving
  4. Learning (I did this for my first essay)
  5. Analogy
  6. Emotion
  7. Consciousness
  8. Action
  9. Language
  10. Creativity
  11. The self

How to narrow down the topic

After choosing one of the 11 topics, you can narrow it down to particular aspects and entitites (human, computer, animal).

For example, you could narrow perception down to sound, the computer down to SIRI, and the animal down to dogs.

Imagery could be narrowed down to visual, auditory, etc.

Learning could be narrowed down to supervised or unsupervised, or to teaching.

Analogy could be narrowed down to intelligence test type analogies (A is to B as C is to what?).

Emotion could be narrowed down to empathy.

Etc.

Edited to add: Note that these are pretty squirrellable. E.g. Last time I took "Learning" and used it to talk about (recursive) self-improvement in machines and humans (planning to post this at some point). So feel free to propose something even if you only have a vague notion of how it would fit into one of the categories

One constraint: I need to be able to ask some sort of question and then produce evidence towards either side of it, i.e. it can't just be a review of the topic. But this too can be pretty vague; in my last essay I did "are humans or machines better suited for self-improvement?", concluding "humans for now, ultimately machines".

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